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Track(s) taken from CDA67686

Valse oubliée No 1, S215/1


Stephen Hough (piano)
Recording details: July 2008
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Rachel Smith
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: March 2009
Total duration: 3 minutes 1 seconds

Cover artwork: When all is said & done (2006) by Anthony Mastromatteo (b?)
Reproduced by kind permission of the artist / Private Collection

Other recordings available for download

Leslie Howard (piano)


'Listening to this recital I felt as though I were a guest at a sumptuous banquet … it is the different wines accompanying each course that make this meal special, that is to say the discriminating premier cru tone, touch (what magically hushed pianissimos) and masterly pedalling to which the diners are treated, each element adjusted to each composer yet all unmistakably Stephen Hough—vintage Hough at that, for here is a pianist at the height of his powers … a great piano recording and front runner for instrumental disc of the year' (Gramophone)

'The glinting wit and thorough seriousness of pianist Stephen Hough's playing—attributes you desire from all virtuosi but do not always find—make this mixed repertoire disc a particular joy' (The Observer)

'Variations sérieuses is given a spontaneous and nimble account, fully relaying Mendelssohn's dazzling invention; and also his heart … [Beethoven Op 111] the second movement has rarely sounded more luminous … [Invitation to the Dance] Hough's performance is scintillating and affectionate, notably lucid in how the hands interact. The Chopin waltzes are pleasurable for Hough's unaffected and crisp (but never inflexible) playing … this thoughtfully conceived, superbly executed and produced release warrants a most enthusiastic recommendation' (International Record Review)

'Hough's clear-sighted path through both the Mendelssohn and Beethoven, every detail perfectly placed, belies the charm he brings to the bravura glitter of the Weber, the subtle ambiguities of Debussy's La Plus que Lente, and the more insidious allure of the Liszt. It's a beautifully accomplished sequence' (The Guardian)

'It's hard to think of another pianist who could encompass such high seriousness—his techincal brilliance is never an alibi for superficiality in Beethoven and Mendelssohn—and high jinks within the same programme … Hough wears his virtuosity so lightly that the fantastically difficult notes seem to pour off his fingers with effortless ease. His Weber and Liszt are played with staggering bravura, his Chopin is both brilliant and wistful, and his Waltzing Matilda makes you want to laugh out loud' (The Sunday Times)
Liszt wrote some delightful waltzes when he was in his twenties and early thirties—Valse de bravoure, Valse mélancolique, Valse-Impromptu—and then more or less abandoned dance forms for forty years. So it has long been assumed that the four Valses oubliées which he produced in his seventies were inspired by some kind of nostalgia for his carefree youth. Although the title (‘Forgotten Waltzes’) seems to confirm that assumption and although there is the occasional sentimental episode, the Valses oubliées are actually not so much nostalgic as ironic. Obviously, they do not display the demonic attitude of the Mephisto Waltzes but they all have something sardonic about them—even the most popular of them, No 1 in F sharp major, which is characterized by the impish rhythms in the opening bars, the pressure put on the initially charming main theme, the feverishly glittering second theme in high right-hand octaves, the inconclusive ending.

from notes by Gerald Larner © 2009

Liszt avait une vingtaine et une bonne trentaine d’années quand il signa quelques valses ravissantes—Valse de bravoure, Valse mélancolique, Valse-Impromptu—, puis il abandonna plus ou moins les formes de danse durant quarante ans. Aussi a-t-on longtemps supposé que les quatre Valses oubliées qu’il produisit vers soixante-dix ans lui furent inspirées par une manière de nostalgie pour sa jeunesse insouciante. Même si leur titre semble abonder en ce sens, et même si elles renferment le traditionnel épisode sentimental, elles ne sont, au vrai, pas tant nostalgiques qu’ironiques. Certes, elles n’arborent pas l’attitude démoniaque des Méphisto-Valses, mais elles ont quelque chose de sardonique—y compris la plus populaire, la no 1 en fa dièse majeur, marquée par les rythmes taquins de ses premières mesures, la pression exercée sur son thème principal, d’abord charmant, son second thème étincelant en octaves aiguës à la main droite et sa conclusion peu probante.

extrait des notes rédigées par Gerald Larner © 2009
Français: Hypérion

Liszt schrieb in seinen Zwanzigern und frühen Dreißigern mehrere gefällige Walzer—Valse de bravoure, Valse mélancolique, Valse-Impromptu—und wandte sich dann in den nächsten 40 Jahren von Tanzformen mehr oder minder völlig ab. Deshalb ging man lange davon aus, dass die vier Valses oubliées, die er in seinen Siebzigern komponierte, in einem Anflug von Sehnsucht nach seiner sorgenfreien Jugend entstanden seien. Obwohl der Titel („Vergessene Walzer“) dies zu bestätigen scheint und auch verschiedene sentimentale Passagen erklingen, sind die Valses oubliées nicht so sehr als nostalgisch, sondern eher als ironisch zu charakterisieren. Natürlich sind sie nicht so teuflisch angelegt wie die Mephisto-Walzer, aber sie haben doch alle ein gewisses dämonisches Element, selbst der beliebteste, der Walzer Nr. 1 in Fis-Dur, der mit schelmischen Rhythmen beginnt und in dem das zunächst liebliche erste Thema, das fieberhaft glänzende zweite Thema in den hohen Oktaven der rechten Hand und der ergebnislose Schluss betont werden.

aus dem Begleittext von Gerald Larner © 2009
Deutsch: Viola Scheffel

Other albums featuring this work

Liszt: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 1 - Waltzes
Liszt: Complete Piano Music
CDS44501/9899CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
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